[00:00:30] Hi everyone. Sam Ovens here and today I have Peter Bray on with us. And Peter helps people start and grow their own successful eCommerce business with Amazon. And Peter joined Consulting Accelerator about seven weeks ago now, so pretty recent and when he joined he had his own successful eCommerce business with Amazon and through joining Accelerator it really taught him that he could package what he knows really help other people who want to start their own Amazon business, start it and be successful with it. And so really he could not only apply the knowledge the to be successful himself, but help others apply the knowledge themselves too and basically earn money from both sides.
[00:01:00] And through going through Accelerator Peter was able to really crystallize his niche and offer and everything and in the seven weeks since he's joined he's been able to make $20,000, which is pretty good for first few weeks. So congrats on that.
Peter Bray: Thank you.
Sam Ovens: So let's go back to seven weeks ago and what was going on at that point?
[00:02:30] Okay so really progressing quickly in Amazon business, I've had 20 years business experience through traditional distribution channels, import, export and Amazon sort of came onto the radar sort of by accident and I was very interested in Amazon as a business model and wanted to learn about it and started sort of a test, sort of like a pilot product that very quickly grew to something significant. And found it was a lot easier than a lot of other things we've been doing in business. It was very automated and it was easy to scale. And came across Sam's material through Facebook and jumped on the free webinar that Sam advised and it really very quickly resonated with me and helped me, I guess crystallize my own ideas in Amazon. 'Cause at that stage I had, through the success that I'd achieved, I had a lot of people come to me saying, "What are you doing that's different? 'Cause I'm struggling, can you help me?"
So I think it was just really good timing that Sam's material helped me really put down on paper, provide something compelling that I could really help them with in their journey as well. So that's really how it started.
Got it. And how did you find me and Consumer Accelerator?
[00:04:30] Through Facebook. Sponsored ads, through various fields, not that I, I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook but it is important. Anyone that's in business or marketing knows that it's an important mechanism for communication so I guess there were ... probably wasn't the initial ads, but it must have been at some point the antenna were up and so I jumped on something and then that took me to the free webinar that you provided and the content there was really magic and laid the groundwork for really putting something down that was concrete to help the people that had come to me. And so really that's how it started. And I guess it put the idea in my mind. I had this Amazon business, which is product based, and with the consultancy it had, there's this other potential for diversification of income which is also scalable. At this stage it's more one on one and group work but I'm fascinated with the notion of automation and scale which is what I've been thinking about for the last few years with Amazon.
Sam Ovens: Got it. And if you were ... if you're making money successfully with the Amazon business why not just keep doing that, why teach people too?
I guess I have a heart for teaching and just helping people and with what we do there's a lot of, sort of pro-bono helping. I have three teenage boys and they're quite interested. They're going through school, through uni, they're thinking about their futures and they, to compete they need to think about it in a smarter fashion. And so I guess I'm connected with a few communities where I guess we share information back and forth and ... but there are limits on your time, of course. So with Amazon you can grow up to something and it doesn't take too much of your time to keep it going, it's like a fly wheel, whereas with one on one consultancy obviously there's a ceiling there unless you can do something that's innovative and different, which I understand is the case with your course Sam. There are things that can be done to really scale consultancy which is quite a unique sort of concept to me.
Sam Ovens: Got it. And then so you're selling things on Amazon successfully, you wanted to join Accelerator to learn how you could consult on this as well.
[00:07:00] Found it through an ad on Facebook, and then you joined and then when it came to the niche part of the program, I guess you already knew what your niche was. Not necessarily because, how did you choose what, 'cause you're good at selling things on Amazon and there's people who want to sell things on Amazon, they don't know how, so there's a problem there. But how did you choose what segment of that market to focus on? 'Cause there's people making millions on Amazon who want to make more millions, there's people who don't know anything about anything and they want to start something on Amazon. And every different piece in the spectrum in between. So how did you choose which one to focus on?
[00:08:00] Okay. So I guess the interesting thing is that I'm kind of my own avatar because I've gone through the journey right from the beginning. Knowing nothing, where the Amazon opportunity wasn't even in front of me at all and then all of a sudden it was there. So I had to learn everything from scratch like everyone else. Obviously I'd had some business experience, but Amazon is a very different animal. So I've gone through different courses and connecting with different communities, going beyond communities to learn for myself, sort of the ups and downs of the journey to get to a certain point.
[00:09:30] So when I look back, so I look at the challenges and the struggles that I had and I'm in a different position now here I look back and see beginners that are starting. There's a lot of noise and a lot of pretty useless information out there that's really not gonna be helping or serving people that are starting their journey in business. So I feel with what I found and what I've created, I can help people that are looking to establish a business and go on this journey, that I can help them fast track. There are a lot of things I can sort of help them to avoid. You don't need to go here, you don't need to do that course, you don't need to pay for that subscription. So I can save you a lot of time and money and you can get from your current position to your desired position which is your classic analogy, in a much faster manner. And with a lot less heartache. So that's really at the heart of what I can see that is powerful for me, so it's lessons learned from me, that I can transcribe to someone else. Yes, there's always gonna be ups and downs of them, but I can help them sort of stay clear of the rocks as we head out to sea.
Sam Ovens: Got it. And so these people who wanna start an Amazon business and are struggling and need help, what's their problem? What are they messing up?
[00:11:00] Okay, well, I think there ... I see a whole range of people, there are a lot of people who have zero business experience so there's very unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved. And I see a big struggle is, in any sort of business, is maintaining momentum. So there's a 1001 decisions that need to be made and it really takes some grit to really press through things and life is busy, and things get in the road, and so what I see even within various Amazon, sort of Facebook closed communities, is people struggle to maintain momentum in business. I really felt that one of the missing pieces were students, at various levels having an expert mentor that they could lean on to really help them push through a lot of the barriers and resistance that they get to continue on and just sort of get there faster.
[00:12:00] Another thing I'm seeing, Sam, in the Amazon space, there's a lot of sort of advertised courses and sort of educational material. Quite a lot of it is designed to really sort of keep the student reliant on them. So a lot of it, the core strategies they sort of keep the student at arms length so the student knows a certain amount but when it comes to launch strategy or sort of more advances strategies, they continually have to sort of pay money and go into more expensive programs. So I think what's at the heart of what I wanted to offer is really fashioning a system that can help them to become truly independent and really learn the skills. Learning to fish rather than just giving them a fish.
[00:12:30] Got it. And you said that these people, that there's misinformation and people don't get, don't either acquire or maintain momentum. What is a specific example, 'cause those are like concepts, what about a reality?
[00:14:00] Okay. So I'm working within a short space of time, the seven weeks since joining Consultancy Accelerator. I have about 10 clients that I'm working with and it's an excellent experience 'cause there is a lot of one on one there. There's group sessions that sort of, it's multifaceted what I do and there's sort of a core component that I provide which is really strategy based, which is opening up my methodology and my, so I guess intellectual property and then the second phase is really the one on one strategic coaching in line with what they're doing personally and the level that they're at in their journey. And something that I tell them straight up front is that the biggest the struggle they'll have in getting from where they are to succeeding in Amazon, 'cause there's an interesting step, Sam, is that ... of those students that do a course, very few actually continue the course or add or list a product. And off those people that list a product, 12 months down the track there's only about 1.7 percent of people that are still in the game.
So there's a very high [inaudible 00:14:21] rate-
Sam Ovens: Why?
I guess people, unrealistic expectations. People get, fallback to what they know, so they get busy in life, they may take a certain degree of risk but when things aren't happening, they just fall back to what they know. So they don't press through and so ... probably one of the key things that I talk to my clients about that really helps them is understanding that in any business, and especially Amazon, in the beginning your cost is much higher and your price is lower. You come in at the lowest price point so it's tough for the first few years, even if you have a great product that's differentiated and looks attractive. But over time there's this sort of crossover where your costs become lower because you can operate with better scale and your price gradually increases so the longer you stay in it, you can benefit from compounding effects of your efforts.
[00:17:30] And I think what I'm seeing is that most people don't stay in it long enough. It's similar to other business fields as well, where they've created a lot of momentum, they're not seeing the results, so they give it away and it's easy to do that in Amazon where, essentially there's a lot of things you can do that are fairly low cost, that are low risk, so when they've launched, nothing's really happened for them in a year, they don't really know what to do 'cause they don't know really how to conduct a proper strategy. And so they just fade away. So there's a huge opportunity for people, just by tweaking a few metrics, really, a lot of it really is fundamental business and marketing, that can really change it for them. So I guess, in the last year and a half I've observed a lot of these things and worked with a lot of people and the feedback from people that are working with me, 'cause a lot of these people have already taken on expensive Amazon training, the things that I've revealed to them have been sort of game changers. This is their words, a real eye opener and they feel confident, they're just plowing through the barriers really quickly and achieving, within a few weeks, what might take people six to 12 months.
Sam Ovens: And why is that?
[00:18:00] 'Cause I think what I'm seeing, I'm seeing a lot of students, they come into the space and they just follow the pack or they listen to the guru, they listen to someone who's very charismatic so they'll just go along with every single thing that they lay down and so from my perspective looking back at that, there's a lot of things that just, time wasting exercises and wasting a lot of money and are just not the right approach for new people coming into the space.
Sam Ovens: And what's an example of one of those things?
Okay. Common thing might be that there are certain subscriptions to research for products. And these things can be quite expensive and so if you're a new person coming into it, you don't really know what you don't know. It's not until you become more experienced and look back that you realize a lot of these things weren't as valuable as you thought and may only have been of use for sort of a limited amount of time, but now you don't need those tools.
Sam Ovens: So like a tool that shows you different products which you might be able to get from like Ali Baba or something?
Peter Bray: Yeah, various things.
Sam Ovens: I noticed it was the most popular, 'cause I went to Shopify and I looked at their app store.
Peter Bray: Okay.
Sam Ovens: 'Cause they've got an app store and I looked at their most popular app and it's an app that helps people find products.
[00:19:30] Yeah, and there's a lot of products out there, there's more and more coming into the market, it's very competitive space and I guess it's like, I liken it to the Australian gold rush where the people that made the most consistent money were those selling the shovels and picks. They had a guaranteed income whereas actually getting any gold was very speculative, but there was a lot of euphoria about it. So I think people-
Well, that's when there's a bubble.
Peter Bray: Yes.
[00:21:00] Which isn't necessarily a good thing. 'Cause when the bubble ends, no one will buy the picks. I think I understand what you're saying though, 'cause it's a similar thing we get with Consulting Accelerator which is people wanting to find their niche, pick their niche, which is like pick your product with eCommerce. And people always want it given to them and if we made a list of top ten niches, it would distort the entire universe because we don't know the best ten niches and to think we do would be like a delusional thing, you know what I mean? And then when everyone picks those things, then they're no longer the best, because now they're saturated. And no one is interested in those things and the only reason they chose them is because we gave them to them. So it's gotta come from the person, it's in them. And so, like that's what we've found too. Until people started picking their own things, which is hard, but they can do it, they weren't passionate about their business because it wasn't really theirs.
[00:22:00] Yeah, yeah. And I do see a lot of that. There's a strong parallel, Sam, with what you just said and I guess probably one of the hardest things for people getting into the Amazon space, is really thinking about a product. That's one of the biggest factors and so they become reliant on services and even a lot of the people that I'm mentoring, they sort of want a quick solution but it really takes training and developing a consciousness and awareness around you and where I'm coming from it's really solutions driven. So it's really taking the time to understand what you love and provide a solution in the market and raise the standards.
[00:23:00] If you can take one thing and raise the standards, create an amazing user experience and solve a problem, then you have something amazing but it takes time to develop the consciousness to be able to even think like that and a lot of people just don't, they're not, they don't have the savvy to really think about how to differentiate or even what represents value. They just haven't thought in those terms before so they're just thinking of a product off the shelf, put it onto Amazon and then they're surprised when it fails. So there's a lot more to it and these are sort of aspects that I do have a lot of experience and sort of bringing to the ring to help people understand themselves and understand the process. That it is complex, but you can do something amazing.
Sam Ovens: And how to help them do that? Like discover their passion and what they love?
Yeah I guess it's interesting 'cause everyone's at a different sort of space in their life and some people have, I guess there's sort of three core elements that I look at that need working on. So there's the science of doing well on Amazon. And there's the craft, and there's mindset as well. So you can sort of divide that up into sort of whatever portion of a pie you want. You can do it equal thirds, for some people it's gonna be sort of more strongly mindset based where they're very creative but they really struggle with self belief. Some people are very confidant and very creative but they don't have good sort of mathematical aptitude so they can't cost products correctly. And then you have other people that are good at the maths and they're pretty confidant but they wouldn't know what differentiation and they just don't have sort of style and taste to really understand what would suit the American consumer. There's a disconnect there. So you really need to have everything and you need to build a team of people around you that understand and can help you in these different facets otherwise it's gonna be a struggle.
[00:25:30] So I guess it's really understanding the individual needs and a lot of these types of things are scalable. Some are more sort of personal so that's why a bit of one on one is excellent to really customize it for their needs. But getting them to really sort of I guess reach deep into their lives and understand what they've done in the past and what they like, the things they're good at, even if it's just small things that have excited them in their life. Getting them to take that away and start to unpack that at a deeper level and using that as the basis to go forward, to think about the market and how they can serve the market, how they raise the standards and provide solutions.
How do you even find out what they are passionate about? 'Cause what you said is assuming that you know what it is, and then how do we work on that? But how do we even identify this thing?
[00:27:30] So a lot of people ... they don't think they have any passions or they think it's something that needs to be found. But I think sometimes it's just for lack of trying. But it's just they haven't ... they're doing things life and they're busy and we're creatures of habit, and so they just haven't taken the time to really think about what they like. It's like a lot of people don't really, they don't set goals, they don't really know what they want to achieve a year down track, five years. And you talk about that a lot in your course, Sam. So I think it's kind of, at the fundamental level it's unlocking, it's kind of creating self awareness in the individual that can help them unlock the things that they like. And I think it doesn't take too long within spending a few hours here and there over the first few weeks, really helps to, I had my clients coming back to me saying, "You know what, in doing this exercise I realize that when I was in school, I really loved this and I knew quite a lot about that but I sort of buried that and forgotten about it."
[00:28:00] So then we start having a conversation about that and we're quite surprise they're actually developing a bit of passion about it. So that creates a bit of a spark that really excites them and pushes them forward to really understand that sector of the market and their sort, and create an avatar for that sort of slice in the market. And then when they've created a spark that's sufficient enough, it's just a matter of pouring gasoline onto that which can become the fundamentals of doing well on Amazon. The strategy, the craft, a few other elements that they, that will just get them to-
And why use Amazon at all? Why not create your own store and not be under someone's regime and control, you know?
[00:30:30] Yeah, well a lot, obviously it's just another channel, certainly a lot of companies have their own eCommerce. Walmart have their own. And a lot od people are starting from scratch but the whole thing with Amazon and why it's attractive is the visibility. 50 percent of all eCommerce dollars are attributed to Amazon. You just, in terms of competing with the search engine, people go to Amazon to buy. Whereas they'll type into Google to research specific things, people are ready to buy so there is a real science in understanding how to appeal to a customer and attract and create the right sort of search terms to get your product found. So it's an amazing machine and I know, Sam, you talk about it, you give analogies of a fly wheel. That success just brings further success and so I think a lot of successful sellers, it's like they have this mini fly wheel and certainly when I look at my business, it's becoming like that because it's taken a lot of energy to get started. And it's going really well even though it's been going for 12 months since listing. Now with every product that sells, it creates further success. Because I have excellent ratings and in terms of the time I need to spend on it, it's really maybe two hours a week.
[00:31:00] I guess what I think, I love Amazon as a consumer, because it's great. Fast delivery, low prices, massive selection, reliable as hell, it's great. And I also love Amazon as a company because what they've done is incredible. And Bezos is really smart with what he's built. But where I think Amazon isn't the best is as a supplier. Because it's highly competitive. Like if you start doing well, someone else can come in and start undercutting you and everything. And then Amazon themselves come in when there's enough money to be made and then they kinda take people out. What's your view on that?
Okay. So it's something that I think about a lot and I think one of the things that has served me well is 20 years previous business experience in the North American market in pitching a ... creating a premium brand from scratch and competing really well in the US. So how do you do that? How do you position a product on Amazon that's hard to knock off? It's all about differentiation and creating a moat around your business-
Sam Ovens: It's not necessarily like ... 'cause you're teaching people how to find someone else's product and then sell that, right?
Peter Bray: Not necessarily someone else's products.
Sam Ovens: So a lot of these people are actually making their own products from scratch. Like materials, engineering, manufacturing, packaging, boxing, all of that?
So customized packaging. I think for the most part there ... very few people do something that's truly unique. If it's truly unique, it's hard to get found. If it's so unique, people aren't going to search for it because they don't know it exists so that's a tough gig. So most people are looking for things that already exist, but the key is raising the standards sufficiently high. So with my product line and something that I do as part of my mentoring is I share what I do. I share my product and the methodology and show them that you can take something boring and make it sexy and do really well. But it's also the brand. Creating a tribal brand following.
Sam Ovens: And what's your product?
What's my product? Well it's in the, what I can say, is it's in the home improvement sector.
Sam Ovens: Got it. And did you manufacture that product yourself and everything?
[00:34:00] So it's ... it's not something that's truly unique, but it is ... it's customized. So there's more of an element of craft about it, but it's really looking at, 'cause I know this part of the market very well 'cause it's something that I've worked in for a very long time, so I have carefully taken the time to understand the needs of the user in a professional sense, so I understand the points of pain that they have. And so I've been able to address that so essentially I'm not selling a widget, I'm selling the ability for this professional to save time and money.
So what happens when they apply the tool to the scenario? They can get a solution, I get that. But who manufactures the tool?
Peter Bray: Okay so we have, so it's not us that's personally manufacturing, but we keep tight control in much the same way that Apple do when they have a lot of components made in China. But we, part of the trick is to keep, yes, how do you maintain control?
Yeah, 'cause there's the part that it gets kind of, 'cause you can see what Amazon did with batteries right? Like AA batteries and things 'cause they can just see who makes the most money. 'Cause they've got all that data. And then they're like, "Alright. These battery guys are making a lot. Well these diaper guys are making a lot." So they sell diapers. They sell batteries. And they actually get in there and then they sell storage drives, hard drives and all of these different things and it seems that would be a fear of mine if I was on Amazon. I'm just wondering how you deal with that. That's why I would, I've always thought if I did it, I would build my store, my own site and everything, and then have Amazon as one channel, and then I would be constantly figuring out how to not use Amazon, 'cause I know that they're gonna do if I get too successful.
Yeah, yeah. And that's the brutal reality 'cause it is, it's like dealing with the [inaudible 00:36:04] and it is their game. It's their bat and ball and so it's really about playing to their game. But they, through Amazon you have the chance to create, you can go head to head with multi-nationals and I've been able to not just compete, but significantly dominant the specific niche that I'm in. And I'm up against a multi-national company. A couple of them. Just because their big and they're making billions of dollars it doesn't mean they have exclusivity to creativity and innovation and certainly from my business experience I see in dealing with big companies, once they become really big, they lack the innovation, they're more putting time into saving what they have, and they're very fearful of liability and I understand that, but when you're small you can move quickly, you can innovate, change direction. It's a lot harder when you're bigger.
[00:38:00] So there really is a serious lack of innovation. There's incredibly opportunity to come in with one thing, raise the standards and create an amazing brand and so how you do that? You self label. You create your own brand, create your own tribal following that people love. So you add value. You create an amazing experience. You can customize something. It doesn't need to be totally unique. Then you create a following. So Amazon is a channel for me, but I need to diversify, so I also sell through traditional distribution channels.
Sam Ovens: Got it.
[00:38:30] Where I have wholesalers and they set up dealers so there may come a day that Amazon, I can't operate through them for whatever reason. But I still have all of the work that's generated through traditional bricks and mortar. So that's once again a part of my strategic positioning when clients come to me, is say, "Well, you need to look at diversification of your products, product lines and categories." So I think really, the types of things most businesses struggle with and it's just putting forward solutions so they have a better chance of survival.
Got it. And then how did you price your program and how did you package it? Are you saying, we'll do one on one for eight weeks or however long and how much are you charging?
[00:40:00] Okay so I really took this to heart and really though about how I price the different components and so it sort of, there's two facets to it. One is something that I reveal. So it's like I'm spent thousands of hours to develop all of this material and I have these unique strategies that are just not being taught anywhere else. So I thought, "Well, what's that worth to me? How do I pitch that? How do I price that?" So I guess I came at, there's a certain aspect, so I just call it the X factor mentor, program and so that's priced at two and a half thousand Aussie dollars, so about 2000 US.
Sam Ovens: Got it.
[00:41:30] So it's not a time based thing, it's something that I, so here you go, this is my intellectual property. And straight away to saves them way more than the cost of the course. Sometimes it could be 10s of thousands of dollars. What I'm doing at the moment with those that it up because it's in the early phase, I actually spend time to go through certain aspects with them to do with the methodology so they understand. So from that point, they have a powerful weapon to go forward, so from then on, I want them to become self sufficient with what they do so then they don't need me down the track. So I've established another, I guess, I call it strategic coaching sessions. So that I give them work to do and they go away and when they're ready they can come back to me and we work one on one maybe for an hour and a half and so what we can achieve in that time is pretty amazing.
[00:42:30] So that's how I've positioned it, those two parts and so it's been individual. So there's been this package sort of deal, and then the one on one coaching sessions and I'm also working in a group level as well where I'm taking on multiple, I guess, what do you call them, licenses? If you like, where it sort of works out better [inaudible 00:42:09] for them. And the feedback has been excellent to do with the value and what they're getting. So I'm really making sure they're super happy. But there's gonna be a limit in terms of time, there's gonna be a limit to really what I can do, so I'm really searching for another way to understand how I can potentially scale the provision of that information to people who want it. And so that leads me into sort of other aspects of what you have to offer, Sam.
Got it. And then what would you say has been the one most transformative part of the Accelerator program for you?
[00:44:00] Okay well, I haven't quite finished week three yet but definitely I would say week two all of the mindset work. I guess in my life I've done quite a lot of work on sort of many facets, but just the way that you present it, Sam, and I've really, I've done all the work, I've spent all the time, I haven't skipped anything. I love what you say about thinking of yourself in the third person, where you're, on a daily basis you're trying to control the character and shape it do what you want. It's really becoming, developing that side of it on a daily basis and becoming master of that, I've put a lot of time into that and it's really one of the key things moving forward for anyone, regardless of what level they're at in business.
Sam Ovens: Got it. And what would your number one piece of advice be for other members in the program?
Take the time to do all of the material. Do all the work. Everyone's busy in life, everyone has things to do, but it's really a matter of priorities. This material is gonna get you results. It's really an opportunity cost. Taking order of your life and really just things have to move out of the way to do, it really needs to become a priority and the more time you spend in it, just on a daily basis, the results will be there. So hook into the material, don't skip anything, go through it methodically, in detail and you'll be rewarded for it.
Sam Ovens: Cool. That's good advice. Well thanks for jumping on and sharing your story.
Peter Bray: No problem, Sam. Thanks for the call.
Sam Ovens: Alright, we'll speak again soon.
Peter Bray: Okay, cheers, bye.
Sam Ovens: Bye.